Armando Hart, a founding member of the July 26 Movement and long-time leader of the Cuban Revolution, died Nov. 26 in Havana. He was 87 years old.
Above, Hart, seated, meets with Puerto Rican independence fighter Oscar López Nov. 13 during López’s trip to Cuba. At far right is Fernando González, president of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples and former cellmate of López after being imprisoned in the U.S. as one of the Cuban Five.
As a member of the Federation of University Students, Hart got involved in the struggle against Fulgencio Batista, who came to power in a coup in 1952. The revolutionary forces Hart was part of fused with the movement headed by Fidel Castro in 1955. “I can affirm that my life is divided into two fundamental stages,” Hart said last year. “Before and after meeting Fidel Castro.”
In his book, Aldabonazo: Inside the Cuban Revolutionary Underground, 1952-58: A Participant’s Account, available at pathfinderpress.com, Hart describes how under the leadership of Castro, working people and youth initiated the political struggle that in less than a decade brought down the bloody, U.S.-backed dictatorship.
Hart was one of the national organizers of the July 26 Movement’s urban underground, and became its national coordinator. He was imprisoned several times in the revolutionary struggle to overthrow Batista. After the revolution triumphed in 1959, Hart was named minister of education, and he directed the mass literacy campaign of 1961 that mobilized Cuban youth to spread throughout city and countryside to eliminate illiteracy. From 1976 to 1997 he was the minister of culture. He was a member of Political Bureau of the Communist Party from 1965, when the party was formed, through 1991.
”He leaves an extraordinary example of loyalty, selflessness and adherence to principles,” Cuban Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel said at a Nov. 27 ceremony in his honor.
The Militant will publish an article on Hart’s contributions to the revolution in an upcoming issue.